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Ring Ratings Update: Uchiyama debuts with Salgado TKO

12
Jan

Takashi Uchiyama (right) lands a big right cross en route to his 12th-round stoppage of Juan Carlos Salgado (left) in Tokyo, Japan, on Monday. Uchiyama's victory over the unbeaten titleholder earned him a No. 7 rating in THE RING's junior lightweight rankings. Photo / SoKuramochi-Watanabegym.com

Mexico’s Juan Carlos Salgado scored one of the biggest upsets of 2009, if not the upset of the year, when he knocked out previously undefeated Jorge Linares in the first round to claim the highly-touted Japan-based Venezuelan’s 130-pound title.

Salgado’s one-punch KO earned the undefeated 25-year-old prospect a No. 7 rating in THE RING and prompted fans to wonder how far the new face would go in the talented junior lightweight division.

However, after losing his title in his first defense, via 12th-round stoppage to Takashi Uchiyama in Tokyo, Japan, on Monday, fans are curious to see if Salgado turns out to be a “one-hit wonder” and how far the undefeated new titleholder will go.



After a voluntary title defense, Uchiyama (14-0, 11 knockouts) will probably go straight to a showdown with former beltholder Linares. Both fighters are co-promoted by influential Japanese promotional company Teiken and their 130-pound matchup would be a high-profile bout in Japan, where Linares (who is co-promoted by Golden Boy Promotions) and Uchiyama (who is co-promoted by Watanabe Promotions) are regularly featured on TV.

Uchiyama-Linares would also likely deliver in terms of action.

Linares (27-1, 18 KOs), child prodigy from Venezuela who moved to Japan to pursue his pro career while still a teenager, is a versatile boxer-puncher with the special kind of speed, fluidity and talent that made boxing writers tab him to be a future pound-for-pound player before his shocking loss to Salgado last year. The 24 year old held a featherweight title before moving to the 130-pound weight class.

Uchiyama, 30, turned pro at the advanced age of 25 after an extensive amateur career highlighted by multiple national titles and a reported 91-22 record with 59 stoppages to his credit. Obviously, Uchiyama is known for his heavy hands, which he proved by stopping Australia’s Nedal Hussein, a veteran of 47 pro bouts (43-4) in only his eighth pro bout in September of 2007. Hussein, who had gone the 12-round distance with fellow vets Oscar Larios, Scott Harrison and Hiroyuki Enoki, had only been stopped once before, a 10th-round TKO to Manny Pacquiao. Uchiyama stopped Hussein, who dropped Pacquiao during their fight, in eight rounds.

Uchiyama fought well against Salgado and was thought to be comfortably ahead by most observers. However, despite having the fight in control, he pushed for a knockout in the late rounds of the bout and got it in the final round.

It will be interesting to see how Uchiyama’s heavy hands and fighter’s mentality match up against the superior talent of Linares.

But for now, Uchiyama’s final-round stoppage earns him Salgado’s No. 7 RING rating and adds to the significant Japanese presence in the lighter weight classes of the magazine’s rankings.

Uchiyama is the 12th (and heaviest) fighter from Japan (not counting Linares) in THE RING’s rankings.

There was a bit more movement in THE RING’s rankings this week than recently, mostly in the middleweight division.

MIDDLEWEIGHTS:

Anthony Mundine (No. 7 last week) advances to No. 6 following his unanimous decision victory over Robert Medly in Sydney, Australia on Monday. Mundine’s promotion pushes down David Lopez from No. 6 to No. 7. The switch was made because Lopez has not fought since April 2009, while Mundine has tallied three victories in the same time span.

Inactivity also hurt Winky Wright (No. 10 last week), who has been replaced by Roman Karmazin. Wright has not won a fight since 2006, while Karmazin’s comeback was enhanced by his up-from-the-floor 10th-round knockout of Dionisio Miranda in Glendale, Calif., on Friday.

JUNIOR LIGHTWEIGHTS:

Salgado (No. 7 last week), making his first defense of the 130-pound belt he won from Linares last October, slips to No. 8 following his 12th-round TKO loss to Uchiyama, who debuts at No. 7. Salgado’s demotion also forces down Linares (No. 8 last week) and Vitali Tajbert (No. 9 last week) one position each, while Ji Hoon Kim (No. 10 last week) exits.

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